Surgeon General details latest on coronavirus crisis

Dr. Jerome Adams speaks to “GMA” about the latest coronavirus testing from the CDC as well as what Americans should expect from getting tested.
5:26 | 03/10/20

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Transcript for Surgeon General details latest on coronavirus crisis
The latest on the coronavirus emergency. As we've been saying more than 750 cases here in the U.S. More than 20 deaths and to get more on this now we want to welcome the surgeon general of the United States, Dr. Jerome Adams. We should probably show everybody the proper greeting. I can almost reach. Good morning, George. Let's give everybody a sense of the scale of the outbreak to expect here in the united States. I've seen some experts estimate up to 100 million Americans could eventually be infected by this virus. That's going to put a tremendous strain on hospitals. Should Americans be prepared for an outbreak of this scale? Americans should absolutely be prepared but that doesn't mean that they should be afraid. We've been here before. H1N1. Sars, mers, we know how to handle it and whatter woo's trying to communicate how they can prepare. I tell communities three thing, number one, know your risk. We know older people are at much higher risk for complications. Younger people tend to be protected from the complications of coronavirus. Number two, know your are you going to be in a crowded situation. Are you planning travel? And, number three, know the steps you can take to prepare and I encourage people to go to to learn how they can prepare but simple things like social distancing. I don't shake hands anymore. We did an elbow bump. Not touching your face. Washing your hands frequently and for 20 seconds with soap and water. There are things we can do to prepare and not panic. That's everything that individuals should be doing. I guess one of the big questions what should communities be doing? We've seen the severe lockdown and the whole country on lockdown. More and more universities here are closing down going to remote learning. What kind of community measures should be taken at this point? Initially we had a containment positive sure. That's outward facing saying we want keeps outside our community and works when you know where they're coming from. Originally over 95% were coming from Japan. Now Europe, South Korea and Iran and mitigation means within your community, how do you lower the impact of the virus and prevent it from spreading within those communities and things like school closures and pulling down large social gatherings and telework policies. Those are all steps that folks should be thinking about in case they have an outbreak in their communities and we know there are clusters in Seattle and Florida and New York City, not every community has an outbreak going on right now. But people should know that this is going to likely get worse before it gets better. You're saying it's in the hands of the communities. What are the national guidelines on what should be cancelled? Go to We are putting out guidelines on the website. There will be advice today for all communities but then there will be specific advice for those communities who are seeing clusters. One of the biggest issues is a lag, a big lag in testing. The best estimate I've seen is that fewer than 5,000 people have been tested here in the United States. At this point in South Korea there were more than 100,000 tests. Why are we so far behind and what should we expect as this testing scales up. It's important to understand CDC stood up a test for the coronavirus in a record amount of time, less than a week. There were problems scaling up the test and when we looked at the test that was going on in other parts of the world, they weren't being held to the same quality standards that people in America expect and fda regulations require. Here's the most important thing, though. The American people don't really care about the total number of tests so much as they care about whether or not they can get a we have over a million tests that have gone out earlier this week. We expect 4 million by the end of the week and we want to get to a place where every American can rapidly get test fundamental their doctor says they should and get the results back. How long will that take? We expect that's the case over 72 state public health labs are now putting out the test. When people push for a number. It's important to know those labs don't have to report back to us. Hard to say how many overall have been done but just how many the CDC have done. 4 million by the end of the we have talked to state lab, I've been to Connecticut and Florida and all over the country and right now no state public health lab is telling me they can't get the test and that they're having trouble meeting capacity. All happening as you know in an election year. There have been calls for the candidate, all of the candidates simply to suspend campaigning. No more big rallies S that wise? One thing we tell folks, know your risk. We know seniors with chronic in he had Cal conditions are at increased risk for complications from coronavirus and then know your circumstances. If you are in one of those high risk groups you should think carefully about the steps you can take to keep yourself safe. If you're one of these candidates out there make sure you're washing your hands frequently and using hand consider an elbow bump or chest tap. We don't want phobes to put themselves at any undue risk and that way we can tamp down the fears and get through this. We reported on this. The coronavirus seems to be creeping in a little bit on the white house. You've had mark meadows, now the chief of staff self-quarantining other members of congress. What kind of risk is the president facing right now. Well, the president's got the best doctors in the world and they are going to talk to him about his risk and about the circumstances that he's putting himself around and I have every confidence they'll give him the advice to keep him safe and keep the people around him safe. Surgeon general, thanks for your time this morning. Thank you. Go to Coming up, an important

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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